Thursday, September 27, 2007

Subtleties and Ethics of Early Decision

Original Article - to be read

Summary goes here!

I believe the decision belong to institution. As long as people have the same opportunities to apply I don't see a problem. How people is going to plan their schedule is up to the people and is of no business and responsibilities of the institution.

OpenCourseWare Goes Statewide

Original Article - Efforts in Utah. A list of open course institutions.

Summary goes here!

The next step: open degree with low cost.

==== My comment at
I suppose these course material is mean to open to public not just scholars. But, assuming that attending institutions is essential in obtaining the appropriate skills to qualify for a degree, these material is of no use to general public.

Am I missing something or people really realized that went to college is not the only way of obtaining skills.

Now. The question: Should all people with skills be granted that piece of paper? How we are going to do that? How much we should charge for that piece of paper?

Meeting of the Minds

Original Article

I hope the result is objective enough ... (and) help us in regulating the for-profits ... and held the college price at a reasonable level.

I suppose every one understand that measure of certain skills is difficult. What surprised me is that, with years of efforts, as claimed by institutions, institutions are accepting grants to make more efforts. Maybe, just maybe, that they realized that their past efforts is not of enough efforts at all.

I see these grants as an incentives to get institutions to be serious about their efforts. The thing I wondered is if there are mandated goals. Or if the money is just an incentive.

I hope the result of these grants are of objective nature so that it can apply equally well to for-profit so that it can address the public concern of the high higher ed price.

======== My comments at the
Well. I hope the result is objective enough so that it can be applied to the for-profit institutions.

This will not only help us in regulating the for-profits but also help public in selecting institutions. This, in turn, can produce a healthy competition and held the college price at a reasonable level.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Elevating the Great Books Anew

Original Article - Teach humanities to college students

Summary goes here!

I need think about this. Of cause, I don't have the humanities education of the Western. But so does those US students that not go through the college education. Are we saying that these people are of lower rank? In what way, I asked.

I tend to think if these things are deem so important, they should be taught at K12. If not, I can see where JLE's comments come from.

Personally, I do not deny the importance of these "things". But I wonder if reading literature is the right way of teaching it, let alone what list of books to read. I wondered isn't this the job of the K12 social studies?

Dealing With ‘Job Outs’

Original Article

Summary goes here!

We should all understand that this is not a bad thing. There are students that are very well capable and can continue to improve themselves.

For higher ed industries, they simply need to define a better measure of success. And if they truly believe in education and their duty to public, they should offer alternative way to issue that piece of paper to students instead of insisting them to sit in class (e.g. allow test-out) and pay for those sitting time.

Here are some of my thoughts along this line:
College Cost : Proceeding ...
Response to Mr. Soto

Accountability and the Applicant

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Well. We will see what will happen. I think without Spellings push, the U-CAN probably never born. The question: Do we satisfied with these dynamics or are there better ways that can keep higher ed institutions constantly attended to publics' interest?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Altering Accreditation — But How?

Original Article - See Glen S. McGhee's comments on history of reform. See wintercow20's experience.

Summary goes here!

It's sound like that Eaton is agreeable in problems that facing the higher education. The question, can she represent the view of accreditation community.

Well. What can I say. Isn't that what I proposed a while ago? Let's have new kind of accrditing agencies and let's compete.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Elite schools dominate admissions to top universities

Original Article - Britain’s Universities

Summary goes here!

Very interesting.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

U.S. Continues to Slip in Educational-Attainment Levels, Says Report Comparing OECD Countries

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Well. I am not very excited about the data they used. I question the compatibility of those data. For example, the 91% graduate rate of Japan could very well because of the selectivity of the Japanese higher ed institution. Also the culture difference in the higher ed institution.

The other thing that is more important is that completion rate only mean something if the quality of the graduates are comparable.

So. I would not put a lot of weights on these numbers. I will prefer to guide by our common sense and be truth to ourselves and really try to understand what kind of graduates we produce.

A Worldwide Test for Higher Education?

Original Article - quite few links to reports done by OECD

Summary goes here!
I like Don Langenberg's attitude and I do have a science background.

I agree that the work is difficult but if we just stopped, based on our knowledge of today, we missed all possibilities.

As for K12, I have to say teacher is not the only one should judge the success of NCLB. This apply to Higher Ed too, instructor is not the only one involved.

To me, science could be a good place to start. Most of the undergraduate science courses are heavy on 'knowledge' and can partially offset people's arguments against standardized test, even though, in my view, knowledge is totally relevant to 'critical thinking' and the success of education.

Standardized test is constantly under attack because, in people's mind, they think it can only test facts. But that is not the fact! Even though the test takers' action is limited to pick answers from a given set, the process in reaching that decision is roughly the same(for science at least) to question that requires outline each steps. I also like to point out that standardized test can still be a very useful tool if you spend time and think about it. A simple test like (2+3*5)^2 can actually tell you a lot about a kid's ability.

The association of coaching with standardized test is also misleading. As a person that went through all these 'coaching' process when I grow up, I can tell you the differences between coaching and learning. Coaching does not work but learning does. The question is what do you call coaching? To me, I am learning, not be coached! I spent time solving problems and I adjust my understanding of the reading material when my answer isn't right - it's much like what you do with the exercise questions in the textbook, admittedly I did more reading and more exercises - which I considered hard working, not coaching.

There are what I will call the 'coaching' that happening in the 'coaching' institute. But I don't think it works. I got classmates that picking answers based on coaching skill like: don't pick a answer that so stand out from others. As you can see, that really won't help much.

Coaching can happen on all kind of tests, not just the standardized test. People also have to be careful in using the word 'coaching' as it could very well mean learning. By the way, I don't see people blame athlete been coached - without hard work, how much impact coach will help?

For social sciences, this could be a difficult task. For natural sciences, at undergraduate level, I don't see much of a problem.

For the most part, undergraduate nature science courses are still in the knowledge acquisition level. Thinking are promoted. But the knowledge probably still account a great deal of the learning. Tests that designed to measure these shouldn't be too difficult.

Personally, my major concern is the price of the higher ed. With the system we have today, the likely hood of getting competitively priced career training is hard to come by. There are several reason for that.

The most important question is do industries really know what they are looking for? Can they put these requirement down in a much objective form?

1. High school did not provide the needed career training meeting industries' need. There are several possible issues here. Do business really know what they want? Is it possible for high school to produce graduates that meeting industries' need?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Business of Branching Out

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I am only concerned about the quality of the graduates. Can universities holding to their academic standard.

Office Hours: Coming to a Computer Near You

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I am a true believer that true learning started with students. Lecture can only get students a head start on a topic. The real learning begins when students worked their way through assignments - i.e. learning via reading and pondering on principles.

This is why, personally, I believe a big part of educating students should be placed on tutoring and consulting.

As pointed out by anytime, the need of this kind of teaching is in demand.

Monday, September 17, 2007

College Accountability Movement Moves Online

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Got to love this: “We’re in a very subjective, and claim-based marketing environment in which student traffic is driven in large part by who can spend the most on marketing,” which had been my point all these time. Their goal of placing focus on individual programs is a direct way of answering to the question.

Here are some of my thoughts in response to kgotthardt and Glen S. McGhee's comments:
For kgotthardt, it seems he have issues with some of the schools which no doubt could cast some doubts on their sincereness. But, in principle, I support the idea.
As for Glen, he has a lot of good points and are, like kgotthardt, questioning the sincereness of this group.

Personally, I understand that, to be truly accountable, added value is the thing that should be measured and be charged for by institutions. But there are reality settings that made this approach much more difficult. For example, if the incoming students are with variety background, in order to provide them the same added values, institutions will be forced to provide each of them individualized instructions, which is not likely and not efficient. My idea of how this can be accomadated by simply measure the outcome of exiting students. When the outcome of exiting students are measured and published, potential students are to look at those measure and pick the reasonably charged institution to go to. The other side of the equation is that if institutions allows waive of courses and fees. On the institutions' side, institutions are to look out for the capability of their incoming students and adjust their course layout and fees to charge. The contract is that in accepting a student, they are committed to bring the student to the stated level of achievement.
We all know that there can have all kinds of ways to measure success. Some of them are not objective and are, therefore, suffered by the
"uncertainty principle" as point out by T-bone.

I understand that objective measurements in social science or writing isn't easy to come by. But I like to point out a common mis-understanding of the objective measurement in science or engineer.

The science and engineer tests do not have to be tests of facts. The test can be constructed in such a way that sound logical reasoning have to take place first before answer can be constructed. There are even cases that sound arguments must be done in order to qualify answers.

There are times that we can even give students reading materials and testing how well they understand the paragraph.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Un-complicating Community College Transfer

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Personally, I support 4 year institutions' rights in evaluate their incoming students. At the same time, I will also support quality check of the graduates of 4 year colleges.

Society consists of a lot of member/components. Each member need to do their parts and be responsible and proud of it. The idea of governance is to establish environments that promote these virtual. The attempt to forcefully manipulate or mandate operation of these components will result into what communist had successes of doing.

In this particular case, a big question is how will we be able to hold universities accountable? To be fair, the measure will have to tied to the quality of their incoming students. The side effects, of cause, is that universities will have to spend other efforts to bring under qualified students to higher level because it's simply not efficient to have ranked faculties in teaching these under qualified students. Beside this may lower the achievement feeling of the faculties and results in not proud of what they do. By the way, do we open a door for community colleges to ignore their duties in producing high quality graduates? The related question, of cause, is that if we are going to check the quality of community college, shouldn't we check the quality of university too?

====== My comments to
I agree with Jermiah and Robert - not all community colleges are equal and not even all instructors are equal. I were teaching the exiting classes at community colleges and my students entering my classes with A and Bs are common. But. I really can't say they are close to the level I expected for 4 year college students. Even though I have higher standards, I went along and give my top group(usually one or two students) A - I can't give no A - can I??

Robert, I wonder if you will support the view that students should be tested before credits can be transfered? - in your field.

Policies Concerning Undocumented Students

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Personally, I see this as opportunities for states and United States.

I can see there are opportunities for states to advance their state in term of the state's interests. This vacuum of federal law is a vacuum for good. For states that are really hungry for human resources, these are the potential resources if they invested right.

Contrary to common believes, I believe there are characters about immigrants that have value to our society. For one, these are likely kids of poor and hardworking families. As a general human behavior, these kids appreciate more about what they got and understand the requirement to survive and, therefore, the important to success.

Nurturing these kids, not only provide a generation of workforce, it influence the value of the society for generation to come. State is a small enough unit that is easier to come to concession between fellow citizen. A visionary governor have the opportunities to persuade the state to take the opportunity and pass laws that is required to foster the growth of the state.

The lesson learned will eventually better shaped the congressional debate on immigrant issues.

A Sleeper Amnesty: Time to Wake Up from the DREAM Act

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I appreciate the insight of the article about the DREAM act.

I, however, can't agree with the blind rejection of amnesty. In my view, as of today, the debate about immigration policy in America haven't taken the overall interests of United State into consideration. A strong country is based on their people and people's vision and attitude.

The world have changed, the protectionism is not going to take you very far. US can keep paying more for their people for the same work that others get paid for less. But this will only made our worker over estimate their value, blind to the reality and fail to recognize the importance of self improvement.

Immigrants of the past and today both bring in the freshness of attitude and hardship. The value of our people is not the heritage but their vision and attitude toward life.

If we just look honestly into immigrants of today, you will still find those courages and loves that marked the immigrants of the past. The take the hardships in searching of better life. They do everything to ensure their kids have better life. For these immigrants, I don't see any living citizen of United States can blindly denies their desires to be an honorable citizen and I don't see how granting citizenship to these immigrants could hurt the interests of United States.

I am sure that even if we set a higher but not un-realistic standard for these immigrants then our fellow citizen, a lot of them will meet those standards. So what else you are asking for? Aren't we a proud country of equality?

Facelifts for the Facebook Generation

Original Article

Summary goes here!

If you have tracked comments at the site, you can see what a different view between some professors/instructors and administrators.

As I repeatedly talked about providing discussion spaces to students in campuses and the importance of open up to students. The thing that I didn't foreseen is that the admission/recruiting is actually the department that makes these things happen.

Now. As my comments on the article says, changes are coming, institutions should look ahead and prepare for it.

My comments on the article: =================

I wonder if institutions realize that this is like democracy — there is no going back.

These changes will inevitably lead to rate professors, classes ... etc. Changes will eventually changes instructors role in institutions. Taped lectures will change instructors role to consulting and tutoring. Of cause, graduate school may sustained a bit longer. But the undergraduates will be impacted first.

I see these changes as positive. But institutions could do more and prepared ahead for what will come next.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Who Gets In — and Why

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I actually like the introductory phrase on the news page that lead to the article:

"What are the roles of race, money and athletic talent? How is merit defined? A sociologist spent 18 months in an admissions office, and shares the tensions and idealism he found."

I also like the author's reply:
“I would say that we need to stop expecting so much of the selective college admissions process,” he said. “If we are really interested in educational opportunity, we should be looking elsewhere. One problem with our public conversation on educational opportunity is that we focus too much on the admissions process and not on the systems that deliver young people to the system.”

When Collaboration Goes Too Far

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Well. In my opinion, device a rightful evaluation process is better than counting on students' ethic behavior.

It's not that ethic education isn't important, but it is less predicable. I have friend that totally against ethic measure - just take out the temptation. Let's say that you intentionally left a $100 bill on the sidewalk and try to check people's ethic behavior. What you may end up with is that the people got cought may have the second thoughts next time around. But! what really corrected his behavior is the afraid of bad reputation been circulated. So what we have here is that people's behavior is moded by external environment - Not a motivation of the honor itself.

Virtual Schooling Growing at K-12 Level

Original Article

Summary goes here!

People have different learning style. Higher ed should consider that and be flexible to response as pointed out in my article: Distance learning authentication and Role change of instructors.